Sunday, August 26, 2012

Things I've Learned and SSSDC Week 12 Update

I got back home yesterday. My throat had been a bit sore the day before and it wasn't feeling any better. By late afternoon, I felt it move down to my chest and I thought - oh no, bronchitis. I have suffered from chronic bronchitis but have been lucky not to have an attack in almost two years. The suffocating cough that accompanies it is terrible. I felt like shit.

Having slept only 2 hours in the past day and a half, I decided to go to bed early. I took a huge dose of NyQuil, put on my sweatpants, turtleneck, sweater, and socks + a hot water bottle (imagine, all this while it's still summer in Kuwait!) and got into bed.

I slept for 10 hours!

I woke up, had something to eat and took some medicine then went back to bed and slept for another 4 hours.

That NyQuil stuff really does knock me out.

I'm feeling much better today. I haven't coughed as much but it's still lurking around in my chest. I just want to get over it so that I can get back into my routine. I think my body has had enough of the traveling and jumping from one time zone to another.


So, I weighed myself this morning and was happy to find that I weighed the same as when I left. Given my eating, I'm definitely pleased. I hope that I feel better tomorrow so that I can go to the gym, even if it's just to walk for half an hour or so.

This week's SSSD Challenge goal was to surpass our fitness/weight goals from week 10.

I haven't been setting any specific goals for each week, especially setting a number to lose each week (e.g. drop 2 lbs each week) because I have found that to be discouraging. Plus, I've really been focusing more on making changes that I'm going to continue forever, not just for the duration of a week or a challenge.

In terms of that goal, I think I've been very successful.

All the travel that I did over the past three months has really put me to the test, and I think I've passed.

Anything that interferes with my routine - even something like a meeting at work running late and crossing over into my lunch hour - makes me crazy. I've been so obsessive about my routine that I think it has actually been counter-productive. What I've learned is that there's never a perfect time when everything will go according to plan, and if it does happen, then it's an exception.

Once I accepted that the majority of my life will be filled with things that I cannot control, I started to feel more relaxed. I started to understand that the changes I need to make in my life in order to adopt a healthy lifestyle need to deal with reality and not ideal circumstances. This means learning how to cope when I'm in the middle of writing an article, grading papers, busy running errands so I can't make it to the gym, I've fallen sick, or I'm traveling. Things happen. They happen ALL the time.

I haven't perfected it yet (not sure if I ever will), but I'm getting closer.

I'm happy that I've reached the point where packing my gym clothes when going on vacation isn't a waste of space but actually something that I'll use (and enjoy).

My workouts are not a chore, rather they're a challenge. The satisfaction I feel with each accomplishment surpasses any feeling that a piece of chocolate could ever bring me.

Eating good food makes me feel GOOD. I have no urge to eat out at restaurants. I know that preparing something at home takes time and effort. I used to hate making salads because of all the chopping etc. and then one day I timed myself. How long will it take me to prepare some lettuce, chop some tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, avocado, and add some tuna and black beans? Add some balsamic vinegar and less than 20 minutes before the meal is ready. It's delicious and healthy. It would take me more than 20 minutes to drive to any restaurant, park, and order my food - let alone eat it and drive back home. It's all about reframing the concept of time. The excuses are in our head.

Today D came home from work and told me that he had his usual lunch from a diet place that they've got in his office building - it serves low calorie meals but not necessarily healthy meals. He told me that his taste has changed so much and that eating the fresh foods that we've gotten used to at home has made him not enjoy these mass/commercially produced meals. I feel the same. Even though preparing lunches for him at home so that he can take them to work might take some extra time, I know that it is time well spent. What's waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning to make a healthier meal in the scheme of things? It's probably 15 less minutes at the gym on a daily basis I think!

Whenever I think of the excuse of time I think of Jenn who has 2 kids and a job that keeps her really busy. She wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to get to the gym at 5 and get her workout done before getting on with the rest of her day. That's dedication. That's the foundation of success.

It just goes to show, if you want it, you've got to work for it - be patient and persistent - and success will follow.

I think the turning point for me was having lost 6 lbs after my 2-week trip to Italy. I feel like I learned how to balance my food and activity to a point where nothing felt a chore. I enjoyed myself. I had fun. I watched what I ate without being paranoid. I engaged in activities without exhausting or straining myself. Things just fell into place - it felt good. It gave me a new sense of confidence and dedication in my weight loss journey - 'Yes. I can do this.'

Now I'm back home. I've got a few days before my semester starts and I'll be back to work and a more normal routine. I've got the Whole Life Challenge coming up that I want to do with Jenn and that's going to take a bit of planning (I started planning some menus already on the plane!). Lots of things to do -- so I've just got to get down and do them.

The challenge for week 13 is a low carb eating plan + no eating out. This should be easy for me since I rarely eat out and I've been trying to go low carbs for ages. I need to get back to tracking my food and being more vigilant of what I eat, how much, and when.

It all feels like it's coming together. It's a good feeling ... now I just need to beat this bronchitis!


  1. Great post and, yes, you have passed the travel test with flying colors. I'm gradually finding that exercise is becoming less of a chore and more of a challenge. Oh, and the quote at the end is very, very true. :)

  2. You are incredibly upbeat for being so sick! I have good news for you. The impatience and feeling so much need for control is part of your age. You'll get more patient with each year, I promise. Great that you have your husband eating healthily. Overall, what a great report card. Get well soon!

    :-) Marion

  3. Great job on maintaining, and getting your workouts in while on vacation! It's funny how tastes change, I know I've lost interest in most processed foods, too much sugar and white flour makes me feel ill. Well worth the extra time to prep a yummy lunch!

  4. Proud of you!! Plain and simple, proud of you. I want to one day get to all of that too. I know it'll come with dedication and that is what I am aiming for.
    Keep it up. Blessings!!

  5. This is such a fabulous post!!!

    You have learned so much - as is evident by all of your strength gains, fat loss & conquered fears!! I hope that whenever you are feeling frustrated or stalled out, that you revisit your post, read your own words & feel the inspiration that you just spilled out to all of us.

    Thanks for the shot out! Keep feeling better!! :)

  6. Great post - and very inspiring. It is nice to look back on the past 3 months and see how far you have come. You seem to have control and are patient about the process. We can all learn a thing or two from this post!! Thanks for sharing.


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